- by Sara Marquez
At about the age of 14, I started to cut myself. I was in a dark place for all of the childhood trauma I was exposed to.
I didn’t know how to cope and as a result, I resorted to cutting myself because I was able to do it in areas that I could hide from my family and friends. At a young age, I made myself believed that cutting myself was the answer to my pain. I truly believed that hurting myself made me feel better. I carried on with this mentality for 7 years. These 7 years were so painful because there were times when I wanted to stop, but I did not know of any other way to cope so I continued. It was constant mind battles that keep me in a dark place. I would isolate myself from the outside world because I could not bear the thought of someone figuring out that I was dealing with self-harm. I was ashamed and scared of what others would think of me. At the same time, I made others believe that I was okay and that I had it all together because I didn’t want anyone to find out about what I was struggling, but at the same time, I wanted to be able to talk with someone about it.
This was then when I started to go to counseling in my first year of college because it had taken over so much of my life that I no longer wanted it to control me. I then came to realize that self-harm was a way of me repressing all of my trauma and pain that happened as a child and as a teenager. For myself, I overcame self-harm by giving it all to God. I want to say that in no way am I trying to persuade you into my faith, but this is my testimony. God gave me the peace and healing that I needed in my mind and my heart to truly overcome my dark days. I learned to surrender this area of my life to God and allow myself to trust him and know that I would have the strength in him to overcome this. I accepted the fact that I needed to let out what I was feeling with words and not create more pain. I learned that the more hurt I became by inflicting harm on myself the more I would continue to do so.
I had to change my ways of thinking and I started to journal those dark emotions that I felt. I took myself out of isolation because this was then when I was more prone to relapse. I made sure to create a healthy environment around myself and I tell myself every day that I am worthy and loved. Grace carried me here and by grace I’ll get through.For me, therapy has allowed me to develop healthy coping mechanisms and being able to identify what sort of things or even people trigger me. It allowed me to start opening up about what was going on behind closed doors.
Little by little I became more comfortable with hearing myself talk about self-harm because at one point I could not even allow myself to admit to what I was doing to myself. I was able to identify that I created an “it” in my life and how I allowed that “it” to control me. This was where I had one of my breakthroughs because I learned to take ownership of my thoughts. This was in no way easy for me, but I knew if I wanted to get better, I had to change my thoughts. I then had to learn how to reshape each negative thought that I would create in my head because if I did not there was a possibility that I would fall back into self-harm. One thing I have to say is that it took some time for me to find the right therapist and this can be emotionally and physically draining going through the process of opening up about your story with multiple doctors, but now being on the other side I can now say it was all worth it.
That it is okay to not be okay, but you must be willing to seek help and truly want
to get better. You have to be willing to have some tough conversations and accept the fact that you are not okay. This is the first step to overcoming a situation like the one I went through, but it can be applied to any other area you may be struggling in. Also, know that you are not alone.
Many times, we believe that others don’t or won’t understand what we are going through, but the reality is there are others who are struggling with the same or similar situation. Now most importantly, you are worthy and beautiful just the way you are. There is no shame in what you are going through and you will get through this. If I can get through it, I know you can as well.
If I could give one piece of advice it would be to reach out and allow others to help you, get yourself out of isolation, and don’t compare your progress with others. We each grow at a different pace and we must have patience with ourselves. One of the things I am most proud of is allowing myself to be vulnerable with myself and with others. For many years I held everything in, and I created walls so others wouldn’t get to close because I was ashamed of what I was going through. I feared others knowing that I did not have it completely together and that I was wrecked inside. Now, with time I learned that in reality, I was the one getting in my one way of becoming a healthy version of myself. Being self-aware of this has helped get to where I am today and continues to help me know where it is that growth and acceptance are still needed within myself from myself.
If you or someone you know is struggling with self-harm Text CONNECT to 741741 to get help now.